MP Navneet Rana faces tough challenge from MVA’s Balwant Wankhede in Amravati : The Tribune India

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MP Navneet Rana faces tough challenge from MVA’s Balwant Wankhede in Amravati

MP Navneet Rana faces tough challenge from MVA’s Balwant Wankhede in Amravati

Sitting MP and actress-turned-politician Navneet Rana won the poll in 2019 as an Independent candidate.



Tribune News Service

Animesh Singh

New Delhi, April 24

Bordering the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, the Amravati Lok Sabha seat goes to the polls on April 26, along with seven other seats in the state. The contest here has assumed interesting dimensions as sitting MP and actress-turned-politician Navneet Rana, who won the poll in 2019 as an Independent candidate, joined the BJP last month and was now seeking re-election from there.

BJP vs Congress

  • Sitting MP and actress-turned-politician Navneet Rana won the poll in 2019 as an Independent candidate
  • She joined the BJP last month and is seeking re-election from there, facing a challenge from Congress' Balwant Wankhede, an MVA nominee

In 2019, she defeated undivided Shiv Sena's heavyweight leader Anandrao Adsul with the help of the undivided NCP and Congress.

This time, she is facing a challenge from Congress candidate Balwant Wankhede, thus making it a direct fight between Mahayuti consisting of the BJP-Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena-Ajit Pawar's NCP and the Maha Vikas Aghadi consisting of the Congress-Sharad Pawar’s NCP-Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena.

Adsul, an influential leader from the area, had won from the seat in 2009 and 2014. In 2014, he defeated Rana, who contested as a candidate of the undivided NCP. Though Amravati has been a traditional Shiv Sena stronghold, owing to a split in the party, both factions refrained from contesting from here directly and offered the seat to their allies.

While the main contest is between Rana and Wankhede, some small regional parties namely Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Republican Sena and Prahar Janshakti Party are attempting to make it a multi-cornered contest.

BR Ambedkar's grandson and Republican Sena leader Anandraj Ambedkar is in the fray from Amravati. He has sought the support of Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM.

A reserved seat for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates, Rana on April 4 got the last-minute reprieve after the Supreme Court restored her SC certificate hours before the deadline ended for filing nominations. She had approached the SC, challenging the Bombay High Court's order that had set aside her SC certificate. The SC reversed the HC judgment. Apart from Amravati, Buldhana, Akola, Wardha, Yavatmal-Washim, Hingoli, Nanded and Parbhani seats will also go to the polls on April 26.

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